He's supposedly part of the wave of leftist leaders in Latin America, but the Wall Street Journal published a flattering portrait of Lula about his staunch free trade advocacy. He even says he is going to lobby Washington to pass the free trade agreement with Colombia along with ending the Cuban embargo (not to mention talking to Hugo Chávez about toning down his rhetoric). He is on a crusade to fight protectionism.
However, he also wants to decrease Wall Street's influence.
Given his background and everything that has been said about him in the past, Lula's current position is amazing. He has forged his own middle ground and gets along with everything. He even noted that U.S.-Brazilian relations during the Bush administration were "dignified." How many Latin American leaders would say that?
Mr. da Silva's disdain for investment banks is rooted in the aftermath of his 2002 election, when U.S. and European investment houses led a rout on Brazilian bonds, predicting Mr. da Silva would wreck the economy. Brazil's economy has remained on solid footing, and its financial system is intact.
Indeed, Mr. da Silva said the crisis offered an opportunity to create an economy where Wall Street financiers play a smaller role.
"The world will be less false," Mr. da Silva said. "The economy that will count is the one that produces corn, rice, a screw, a car, a suit, a watch."